back, back, back to school again

August 24th, 2016

back, back, back to school again

The sun is starting to rise later and set earlier, backpacks and fall boots are starting to come out of storage, and soon the featured flavour at your favourite coffee shop will switch over from mango pineapple to pumpkin spice. All of this can only mean one thing – back to school season is finally upon us. As the summer winds down, chaotic schedules and busy streets wind up.

Hopping on a bus along one of vivaNext’s rapidways is a quick and convenient alternative to driving, which can help you beat the busy streets. However, if you do choose to drive, we remind you to use caution, and keep an eye out for pedestrians, particularly in school areas. Construction continues on some of our streets, so please drive slowly through work areas with everyone’s safety in mind.

For any back to school shopping you have left to do, be sure to check out the plethora of shops in our construction areas >> Shop 7, Shop Yonge, and Shop Bathurst & Centre!

From all of us at vivaNext, we wish you and your family a happy, safe and successful school year.

 

- Sydney Grant, student Public Relations Coordinator

green light, go light

August 17th, 2016

green light, go light

When it comes to traffic lights, there is a clear favourite: no one likes red, but everyone loves green. And those advanced green arrows are great, except that they never seem to last long enough. Seriously, traffic signals are one of those aspects of commuting that we all have strong feelings about. But what determines when a light changes from red to green, and how long that advanced green should last? Let’s try to shed some light on that…

There’s nothing random about the timing of traffic signal phases, and their design has only one goal: to move traffic and pedestrians as freely and safely as possible along our roadways. As with all aspects of civil and urban design, things are more complicated than they might seem, requiring clear priorities and tradeoffs to balance out everyone’s needs. Here are the basics.

In traffic engineering-speak, a signal phase refers to the operation for all approaches to an intersection [e.g., a red light will show for a side street at the same time as the main road has a green light]. A cycle is the entire combination of phases for an intersection [red, green, amber, advanced green etc.]. A cycle can range from 90 to 160 seconds [meaning if you miss a green light, that’s how long you could wait until the next one], although the timing depends on the intersection and the time of day.

Determining what phases are needed for the cycle, and how long each phase will last, reflects the needs of all users – including transit, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Some phases in the cycle length ensure that road users are not in conflict with one another [for example, drivers can’t exit a side street at the same time as drivers are going straight through on the main road]. Also, some users’ needs will be parallel within a phase – e.g., pedestrians, transit and drivers all travelling in the same direction.

Decisions about phases, and how long they last, take into account actual traffic volumes and how traffic patterns change throughout the day. Timing is designed to make the intersection work as efficiently as possible [meaning moving through the largest numbers of users], and minimize delays for all road users [although with many roads at or over capacity during rush hour, signal timing alone can’t solve congestion]. Signal priority is also provided to fire, ambulance and transit, where the signals change to provide priority right-of-way to emergency vehicles and some transit vehicles, without violating the pedestrian timings.

Timing for each phase is based on the minimum timings required by provincial standards. These include minimum timings for pedestrians, motorist and vehicle clearance [amber and red timings] based on several factors, including the width of the intersection, and traffic speed [posted and operating].

Proximity to other infrastructure also has an impact on priorities and the timing of phases. For example, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation may have jurisdictional control over the timing of lights at some intersections, depending on how close the intersection is to a provincial highway off-ramp or railway crossing.

Ultimately, any one cycle has only so many seconds, and no one wants to wait longer than they have to. So the design of traffic signals needs to balance everyone’s needs, while working out the best way to move traffic through an intersection and along a thoroughfare, and minimizing delay for all road users. York Region’s Traffic Signal Operations department continually reviews and assesses the performance of the region’s 848 signalized intersections, and adjusts signal timing to get people moving as freely as possible. Please contact traffic@york.ca if you have any traffic signal concerns.

Whether you’re crossing intersections on foot, bus, bike or car, traffic signals are there to move everyone along safely.

 

that’s entertainment

August 10th, 2016

The towns and cities of York Region offer lots of fun, entertaining activities in the summer months. Whether you’re in the mood to catch a movie and play some games at the arcade, or you’re more drawn to live entertainment, there’s something for you!

Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of the historic downtown area, the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts [RHCPA] is a state-of-the-art performance space that seats over 600 people. Featuring a variety of performances from acclaimed, professional artists, RHCPA performances celebrate the wide range of cultures in York Region. Follow the link above for schedules and ticket information, and be sure to check out the list of free summer concerts.

Newmarket Music in the Park

Every Thursday and Sunday night throughout the summer months, the Newmarket residents gather by Fairy Lake to enjoy an evening of culture, music and fun. Music in the Park is a free event hosted by the Town of Newmarket. Featuring performances from local entertainers, it’s a convenient, low-key evening that the whole family is guaranteed to enjoy. Come on out and support your local performers – they may just be the next big star!

Vaughan Colossus

Is there any better way to spend a humid, rainy summer day than taking in a movie with your friends or family? At Vaughan’s Colossus Cineplex, located right off Highway 7, you can catch all the latest flicks with your nearest and dearest. Additionally, Colossus is decked out with an XSCAPE Entertainment Centre, so you can spend time before and after the movie winning tickets for prizes in this interactive arcade.

If you haven’t visited one of these, add it to your list this summer – maybe it’ll be your new favourite place to go. York Region has lots of entertainment, and whether it’s indoor or outdoor, live performances or movies on the big screen; it’s all just a short transit ride away.

 

- Sydney Grant, student Public Relations Coordinator

digging deep >> utilities at a glance

August 3rd, 2016

digging deep >> utilities at a glance

Before we can build dedicated rapid transit lanes, wider sidewalks, and plant beautiful greenery above ground, we need to go underground – to the world of utilities.

Our latest video peels back the layers to reveal all the modern conveniences we all depend on and often take for granted. We’ll shed some light on the steps we take to relocate critical infrastructure and explain why you see different crews come back to the same location as work progresses.

The most common things you’ll find are storm and sanitary sewers and pipes, water mains, gas mains, electrical wires, television/internet cables and phone lines.

We also take a look at the latest technology under the median and sidewalk planters , allowing trees and other plants to have deep, healthy root systems, and providing natural storm water management.

We’re just scratching the surface, but you’ll get a glimpse of how we replace and update infrastructure as an important investment that improves everyone’s quality of life.

 

dive into summer

July 27th, 2016

dive into summer

The towns and cities of York Region offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor athletic facilities which are open to the public throughout the summer months. Regardless of skill level, athletic prowess, or lack thereof, these destinations offer something fun and active for everyone. With easy access to our expanding Viva network, summer fun is right at your door.

Richmond Hill: The Wave Pool

York Region’s only indoor wave pool, The Wave Pool, is a destination with something to offer visitors of all ages. In addition to the central wave pool, this destination also features a twisting, 160-foot long water slide, a swirl pool and an on-deck sauna. If you’re looking for some family fun in a safe atmosphere, surf your way over to The Wave Pool.

Markham: Pan Am Centre

Built for the 2015 Pan Am games, the Pan Am Centre in Markham boasts an Olympic-sized pool with 10 lanes. A location suited for more experienced athletes, the Pan Am Centre hosts endurance lane swims throughout the week, on either a 25 metre or 50 metre course. However, if you consider yourself more of a spectator, the Pan Am Centre is home to a variety of competitions and events throughout the year.

Newmarket: Of Rock and Chalk

Located on Ontario Street, just off Davis Drive, Of Rock and Chalk is an indoor rock climbing facility in the heart of Newmarket. Decked out with over 46 different climbing routes, six different bouldering areas and a variety of other features, Of Rock and Chalk is guaranteed to be a fun time for the whole family. Additionally, Of Rock and Chalk offers a variety of courses and passes from a beginner’s course to individually booked climb time, making it an exciting challenge for people of all skill levels.

So whatever your activity while you’re out and about – chasing Pokémon, enjoying a community event or diving into your local pool – we at vivaNext are working hard on construction projects to add dedicated lanes for Viva to help you get there faster. We hope you’re enjoying this great summer!

- Sydney Grant, student Public Relations Coordinator

adding shade and beauty to three parks

July 20th, 2016

As preparation for road widening got underway this spring along Bathurst and Centre, we were able to transplant 38 trees to three local parks in Vaughan. Watch the video to see how it went!

Here’s a quick background glimpse of the planning: During the final design stage of the rapidway project on Bathurst and Centre, all trees along the corridor were inspected and inventoried, and each tree was included in the construction drawings to see how they were impacted. While some were being removed for road widening preparation, those suitable for replanting were identified. Those removed will be replaced at the end of the construction project with even more planted.

We worked with the local community to identify locations to transplant the trees, and this June, the trees were transplanted in Bathurst District Park, Bathurst Estates Park and Rosedale North Park.  VivaNext is committed to sustainable options and transplanting trees is one of those initiatives.

 

Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com. To stay up-to-date on construction, sign up for email updates at vivanext.com/subscribe.

subway in the GTA: where & when to build

July 19th, 2016

subway in the GTA: where & when to build

With the launch of the #YongeSubwayNow petition and campaign for full funding of the Yonge Subway Extension, there has been a lot of conversation around where subway should be built, and whether the Yonge Subway Extension or Downtown Relief Line should be built first.

At York Region Rapid Transit Corporation [vivaNext] we’ve been leading the design and engineering studies for the Yonge Subway Extension, so we have a few thoughts on these important topics.

 

considering the options

To some it might seem as if the Yonge Subway Extension is a new plan, but really it’s been in the works for many years, and it’s pretty far along. It was first included in York Region’s Official Plan over 20 years ago in 1994. The Environmental Assessment was completed and approved way back in 2009, and in 2012 the Conceptual Design Study was completed and approved by TTC and York Region.

This isn’t a blind push for a subway – we’ve looked carefully at the options. LRT and dedicated BRT lanes were considered, but due to factors such as narrow road space and high ridership, only a subway will work here.

 

building in parallel

Transit should not be a York vs. Toronto issue. Instead, the focus should be on what investments will contribute best to helping people get where they need to go conveniently and most cost-effectively. That’s why, for example, we think both the Yonge Subway Extension and the Downtown Relief Line need to be built. And we know the Province of Ontario agrees, because both projects are on Metrolinx’ list of top priority projects. In fact, a relief line that reaches all the way to Sheppard Subway would be particularly helpful to the Yonge Line, especially if a rapid transit connection can be added later to travel north from Sheppard.

Transit expansion benefits people on both sides of our municipal borders. Today, we see a significant number of travelers headed northbound in the AM period to a growing number of jobs in York Region. Cross-boundary transit reduces traffic congestion on GTA roads, and increases the pool of customers and skilled employees for Toronto businesses.

With the current state of transit in the GTA, transit projects that are as important as these shouldn’t be built consecutively. Projects like these typically take at least 10 years to design and build, so they should be built in parallel. We can’t wait for one to be complete before starting another.

A GTA transit network means expanding options and crossing borders. It means we have to move forward with as much transit as possible, in the places where it’s needed. And we can all benefit from that.

 

pick a park, any park …

July 13th, 2016

pick a park, any park ...

The summer months are often a chaotic time of year when it comes to finding fun, convenient activities that the whole family will enjoy.  This summer, let us help you plan the perfect outing.

Summers in the towns and cities of York Region provide residents with perfect places to spend time outside. Whether it’s picnics, playgrounds, fishing, or just good old fresh air and sunshine, York Region’s parks are an outdoor oasis.

Newmarket’s Fairy Lake

Fairy Lake is a staple location for Newmarket fairs and festivals throughout the summer months. Located just south of Newmarket’s Historic Main Street, this park serves as an urban greenspace in the heart of the town. Featuring playgrounds, gazebos and easy access to the Farmer’s Market at the Newmarket Riverwalk Commons, there is something for everyone. The new Viva service drops you off right at the top of Main Street for easy access.

Vaughan’s Chancellor District Park

Located in Woodbridge, just off of Ansley Grove Road, Chancellor District Park is a go-to greenspace in the community. Outfitted with an outdoor splash pad as well as a playground, this park is an ideal place to take children of all ages to for a day of outdoor fun. On August 3, 2016, this park is hosting a Michael Jackson tribute concert as part of the City of Vaughan’s Concerts in the Park series. If you see our vivaNext booth at a Concert in the Park, be sure to drop by and chat with us!

Markham’s Milne Dam Conservation Park

Located just off of Highway 7 and Markham Road, coming in at 305 acres, Milne Dam Conservation Park is an idyllic place to hike and bike with your family. Featuring 2.3 kilometers of trails running through the forest, a beach area and picnic tables, Milne Dam Conservation Park is the perfect place to immerse yourself in on a sunny day.

Whether it’s the walk in the park after dinner or a concert in the park across town, there are pockets of nature all around the region for everyone to enjoy. So get out your bikes, your picnic blankets and Frisbees because there’s lots of summer left to enjoy and with convenient and fast Viva service ready to take you were you want to go – it couldn’t be easier! Enjoy!

- Sydney Grant, student Public Relations Coordinator

the freedom of July

July 6th, 2016

the freedom of July

July means freedom to kids and youth who are out of school, and spending time outside walking, biking and taking transit. It’s a time filled with the promise of new adventures and fun on the horizon.

We’re all for adventures, but with so much activity on York Region’s streets, we hope everyone will keep safety in mind too. If you’re out for a walk or bike ride, be sure to stay outside of construction areas – even ones that appear inactive. Cross at sidewalks, and be aware of vehicles nearby. If you’re driving, give pedestrians and cyclists some extra space and lower your speed in construction areas.

Most of our projects are on or near the road, so we’re very safety conscious when setting up construction sites.

When setting up work sites, our contractors abide by legislation, safety guidelines and local bylaws, including: the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Occupational Health and Safety Act [1990], Ontario Traffic Council [Book 7], and bylaws of York Region and local towns and cities.

Safety of the site and the construction workers is very important on any project. By keeping the community informed of work and maintaining good directional signs, the teams work together to make sure everyone gets home to their families.

We hope everyone finds a little adventure and a taste of freedom this summer – stay safe!

 

Happy Canada Day!

June 30th, 2016

Today, Canadians across the country are celebrating the 149th anniversary of confederation with a well-deserved sum-sum-summertime day off and long weekend.

At vivaNext, we’re happy and proud to be building rapid transit and creating jobs in wonderfully diverse and fast-growing York Region – the best place to live in Canada!

There’s a great selection of events to enjoy this weekend, including the public debut of the Pride of Canada Carousel. In place of the usual ponies, this incredible carousel includes 44 quintessentially Canadian characters, like a Mountie, a moose, a bumblebee and a beaver, to name a few. Check it out at the Markham Canada Day celebration, noon to 5:00 p.m., Friday July 1 at 162 Enterprise and Birchmount – Viva can drop you right at the door with fast, easy service.

Check out more local York Region Canada Day events in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Newmarket and Aurora – and in the nation’s capital.

As you take part in these celebrations, we wish you a fun, safe long weekend enjoying all the things Canada has to offer. Make your commute more enjoyable and take transit as part of your holiday adventures this weekend.

 

Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com. To stay up-to-date on construction, sign up for email updates at vivanext.com/subscribe.